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Meet John Doe

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Meet John Doe

Published 1941
Topics Comedy, Romance, Drama

Taken from IMDB:
As a parting shot, fired reporter Ann Mitchell prints a fake letter from unemployed "John Doe," who threatens suicide in protest of social ills. The paper is forced to rehire Ann and hires John Willoughby to impersonate "Doe." Ann and her bosses cynically milk the story for all it's worth, until the made-up "John Doe" philosophy starts a whole political movement. At last everyone, even Ann, takes her creation seriously...but publisher D.B. Norton has a secret plan. Written by Rod

Run time 02:02'13
Producer Frank Capra
Production Company Warner Brothers
Audio/Visual sound, black & white


Reviewer: hasteslide - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 22, 2013
Subject: Met John Doe
Solid conception, good to great production though not consistent all the way down to the end, certainly a must watch -better if thought about.

A specious review will only be redundant, nonetheless, I do have a point, a doubt to be more precise.

The whole idea of organized movement, though in itself commendable, inherently accounts for the enforcement of status quo, rather than its dissolution, or (on a broader scope) reform of social reality. No organized movement could be an alternative to any other organized movement, being only the next step of social evolution. On the other hand, a non-organized action (or notion) could not have noticeable influence on the state of affairs, being disperse and accidental. Point be: how to face characters like that of Norton's (and all it depicts, e.g., party system, rigidity, but ultimately, corruption) from the personal sphere of action, and impose a real "changing tread"?
So to say, the possible solution points right away to the moral domain, for the citizen is its fundamental unit, i.e.: John Doe. But on the long run this view falls short, since matters of necessity dictate the need for coordinated action, i.e.: teamwork. In order to address necessity, if not correctly enough at least vigorously enough, we socialize. The Moral Law and its subjects are therefore overruled by social regulations, unwritten convention, and ultimately, general convenience. In sum, the reform of a society is beyond the reform of any part of its individuals; since we can't determine how many of those are needed to make transcendent change, the only way to assert that a difference has been made is to impact on the whole of society, including its institutions and general attitude.

In conclusion, Doe's movement seems like a plausible alternative but its own inadequacy to the needs of the organized society render it brittle; meaning that its lack of commitment to any particular agenda (lack of definition), its fundamentally ludic purpose (lack of sustainability) and, nonetheless, its dependence on media to strive (lack of speakers at the Doe's-Con), add up to a fast forgotten statement of goodwill, more or less what politics and religious scams are about to the vox populi.

P.S.: Beware of all those people who claim contempt for specious reasoning -starting from me.
Reviewer: Dark Moon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 1, 2011
Subject: Heelots!

It turns out that the scene (early in the movie) where Walter Brennan's character explains his coined term "heelots" is somewhat famous (or notorious, depending upon your point of view). Put the word in a search engine, and you turn up video clips of the scene, transcripts of Brennan's lines, and some comments about the idea he presents.

As it turns out, the idea is a fairly ancient one. It is the whole reason why spiritual ascetics, in their quest for inner freedom, turn away from the material world, and why spiritual people who live in the material world practice disciplines to limit its impact upon their lives. The Advaitists speak of "attachment," the bondage that results when our lifestyles and the things we (think we) own wind up owning us. (Their answer: "Work in the world, but do not become attached to the results.") Brennan's "heelots" speech, which says almost the same thing, is in keeping with several spiritual traditions, and points out the same results that they do: non-attachment brings peace and happiness, while attachment brings misery and suffering. To find such a concept presented in a movie targeted at mainstream America—which by then (1941) was well on its way to being a consumer society, with its business leaders doing all they could to foster attachment—surprises me more than a little.

The film presents a few other values that were relevant enough at the time, and much more so to today's Ipod generation. Something to think about, while watching the world go by.
I too downloaded the MP4 from this page rather than the MP2 from the other one. Clear video and audio, 620x455 resolution, and a much smaller file size made it my choice to watch.
Reviewer: nigeldavahah - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 17, 2010
Subject: A must see
Reviewer: billbarstad - favoritefavoritefavorite - October 16, 2010
Subject: Typical Capra Fare
A well-made fantasy with a fine cast, the predictable story bored me by the end of the second act. I guess I've had enough Capra, and while Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper were good actors, I've never really cared for their work.

I tried the Quicktime file. It was empty, and should be removed. I then tried the 497MB 512Kb MPEG4 file, but it showed horrendous compression artifacts. Finally, I downloaded the 1.4GB MPEG4 file, and the video was very good, as was the audio. I wish I had tried the 511MB 512Kb MPEG4 file on this page first, though I don't know if it is any good.
Reviewer: atraveler - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 14, 2010
Subject: Comedy?
I can't for a moment understand how this movie can possibly be considered a comedy. Particularly in today's political climate it's prescience is breathtaking. Think DB Norton would lead the Tea Party?
Reviewer: appledecca - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 8, 2010
Subject: Frank Capra!
Favourite line from this Capra movie..."No You cant talk to John Doe .. cos he just sits around all day & commutes with himself"...Engaging & enjoyable. Thank You..(oh & theres Nazis hiding under the the USA !)
Reviewer: Dioneo - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 15, 2007
Subject: B/W, not color
It's black and white, not color.
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